What Canadians must learn from the American election

flag_of_canada-svgDear Canadian Friends,

We must remember that our country is only slightly less bigoted than America(it seems dramatic, especially if you live in the GTA which is way less bigoted than small town Canada, but the level of hate is the same; people here just tend to be more moderate about how they show it) and that in a couple of years, we risk going back to being a conservative nation.

In the past three days I’ve seen half a dozen articles calling for progressive Americans to come together and stand against the new fascist regime(I can call Trump a fascist, right? Right). I’ve read at least thirty social media posts saying the same thing: now is the time to band together, to create the ultimate mass movement, to put the pressure on the Republicans and let them know Americans want to keep the rights they’ve won.

Today I’d like to make my own rallying cry, but not for Americans. Fellow Canadians, this message is for you.

We have a lot to learn from this election. Canada may still be living in the shadow of the Harper government’s mistakes, but it’s easy to believe we’ll never go back there. The truth is we will always be at risk. Conservatism won’t go away. There will always be rich white folks whose only real concern is staying rich and white.

Even more importantly, we are at risk of becoming complacent. It is all too easy to believe we have made all the progress we need to–especially when we’re watching something as foul as the most recent American election, which makes our politicians look like sweet kittens–and to stop fighting for better lives, especially if you’ve managed to stay in the middle class throughout the economic turmoil of the past few years.

But this is the time when it is most important for us to fight. We must put pressure on our government to come through on the promises they made to us. Most importantly, now more than ever we must raise our voices for electoral reform. If there’s one thing I hope Canada has learned from this election, it is the possibility of a similar election here. No, we don’t have the electoral college(that’s a different rant for a different day), but we do have a broken First Past the Post system, which led to more years of Harper than anyone wanted and made everyone so afraid that they didn’t even consider voting NDP. We will never have a true three party system until we get rid of First Past the Post.

There are many other things we need to pressure our government into doing–like improving living conditions on reserves and legislating affordable childcare–but I believe that electoral reform is the most important. Why? Because without it, we’re far too likely to end up with a government that will destroy all the progress the Liberals have made. Without it, we will keep bouncing back between the Conservative Party and the Liberals, making baby steps forwards and then backwards, never getting anywhere.

Please, please help ensure that we don’t end up walking down the same dark path America has taken. I know most of you don’t have a lot of time or money to give to a cause of any kind, but even a few dollars or a single day of volunteering can make a huge difference.

Take a moment to go to Lead Now, a non-profit actively pushing for voter reform, and use their system to send a message to our government. Share the Lead Now website–or this article–with all your Canadian friends. Pledge a few dollars to the fight for proportional representation. Do whatever small thing you can, but make sure you do something.

If we do not come together to stand up for our rights and our country, the rich and the powerful WILL take it away.

We can stop it, and we must.

Please join me on the quest for a better country,